MANILA, Philippines – Students, administration officials, faculty and employees of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) held a unity walk on Tuesday to renew their call for greater state subsidy for tertiary education.
Thousands walked out of the PUP campus in Sta. Mesa and marched along Magsaysay Avenue, effectively launching a week-long series of protests against the alleged insufficient budget of the institution.
PUP, which has some 68,000 students, proposed a budget of P2 billion for 2013. However, only P735 million has been allotted to the school.
PUP student Regent Rommel Aguilar acknowledged that PUP's budget has increased by P57 million from 2011, but stressed that most of this will be earmarked for the mandatory increase in salary of personnel.
Aguilar stressed that the government should rechannel the budget for the military and debt servicing to education.
"Tingin kasi ng administrasyon pribilehiyo na ang tertiary education. Hindi tama yun. Education is a right mula grade school, high school, hanggang college," said Aguilar.
Samuel Salvador, PUP vice president for academic affairs, believes that the country will benefit in the long run if the administration starts investing in tertiary education now.
Salvador said the administration is one with its students in calling for greater state subsidy.
"Naiintindihan natin kung gipit financially ang gobyerno, pero kung gusto nila ng tunay na development, investment talaga ang education," said Salvador.
PUP will be joining the students’ mobilization in Mendiola this Friday.